HydrateLife is currently working in Candelaria Arriba, Colombia to bring clean water and improved sanitation to this small, close knit community made up of 146 families, and 730 people. Candelaria Arriba is located in the north of Colombia, about 7 miles inland from the Caribbean coast, and is surrounded by rolling hills, open plains, and tropical wetlands. The people of this community are mainly subsistence farmers, growing food to eat and to sell.
This community has water quality and scarcity issues, as well as a lack of improved sanitation. For more information about the community and our project there, please click HERE.
In the spring, our founder, Brian Luenow, was able to travel to Colombia to meet everyone at our partner organization, ASPROCIG, as well as the community in Candelaria Arriba. While there, he visited one of the main sources of water for the community during the dry season, which is just a natural depression that fills with water during the rainy season. This reservoir is used by people and animals alike, with cows and horses using it for drinking, bathing, and as a toilet.
Within the community there are a couple of people that could afford to buy a filter, but in general, people either buy chlorine (again, if they can afford it) to disinfect their water, or drink this water as it is. And while chlorine is a great disinfectant in emergency situations, people often don’t measure it out and end up using too much, and therefore,this just creates another health concern in the long run. We need something better for this community.
That’s why this fall we’re raising money to provide every household, and the school, with locally made ceramic water filters that will provide them with clean water for years to come. We have raised most of what we need for this project, and we’re currently raising money to cover the remaining cost.
After both of these projects are completed we’re going to keep moving right along in Candelaria Arriba. There are three items that we would like to complete in the next year. First, we would like to see a bathroom at every house. When in Colombia, Brian saw that more houses in Candelaria Arriba had bathrooms then he expected, approximately 50%, but that still leaves a lot that don’t. Those that don’t have one have to go to the bathroom out in the open. This is not only unhealthy and dangerous for these people, but also for the entire community which could potentially be introduced to diseases from the waste.
We’d also like to replace the electric water pump at the school with a solar water pump. Electricity is prohibitively expensive in Candelaria Arriba, and often not even available. Now that we are completing the rainwater harvesting system they’re going to have a tank full of water, and we want the students to be able to use it whenever they want. Additionally, we’re going to monitor how much water is used by the school, and then decide if they require an additional storage tank in order to have enough water to last through the dry season.
Finally, one of the biggest complaints Brian heard while there was regarding the amount of time people spend collecting water, and how much easier life would be if they had running water at home. To that end, we plan to start designing a water distribution system that will bring water to every house in the community. This will be a very big project, and will take a lot of planning and support, but in the end will have a huge impact on the lives of the people, and on the future of the community.
We also plan to start a new project over the next year, and so money raised could also be used for that.